The founder of an online crypto trading course called the American Bitcoin Academy scammed students out of more than $1 million by persuading them to invest in a fake hedge fund, the Securities and Exchange Commission claimed Friday.

From December 2017 through April 2018, Brian Sewell allegedly solicited investments for the Rockwell Fund, which would invest in digital assets using unique strategies and tools such as artificial intelligence.

Instead of launching the fund, Sewell converted the investments into Bitcoin, which he lost when the wallet he was using was hacked, the SEC said in a news release announcing the settled case. He also deceived investors about the fund’s existence by sending them fake monthly account statements.

Sewell’s alleged fraud scheme ultimately cost 15 students about $1.2 million, according to the regulator.

“Whether it’s AI, crypto, DeFi or some other buzzword, the SEC will continue to hold accountable those who claim to use attention-grabbing technologies to attract and defraud investors,” Gurbir Grewal, the director of the SEC’s enforcement division, said in the news release.

Sewell and his company, Rockwell Capital Management, agreed to settle with the regulator, without admitting or denying the allegations. As part of the deal, Rockwell Capital agreed to pay $1.6 million and Sewell, more than $200,000.

Sewell, which is listed as the media contact for the firm, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. He lived in Utah before relocating to Puerto Rico, according to the SEC complaint.

The enforcement action is the latest in a string of cases the agency has brought in connection to digital assets. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has repeatedly cautioned investors that the crypto space is rife with fraud. 

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.